What Do Young Athletes Really Need?

March 15, 2011

Sometimes, it’s beneficial to be given sample programs of what to do with young athletes in certain situations.

Luke Fichtner, BS NASM-CPT, IYCA-YFS, YSS AXIOM Health & Fitness

Other times, it’s better to understand a philosophy of training.

I have found in my career, that appreciating the concept of what to do with young athletes is tremendously more important than the former.

With young athletes, knowing the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ is terribly important.

Moreover, understanding the universal laws of development that govern all human growth – and how they are applied to programming for young athletes – will allow you to create specific programs that are compatible with your given situation.

When working with young athletes the acronym ‘M.O.L.D’ provides a perfect backdrop for understanding what, specifically, are the musts of training this particular demographic.

Movement is Critical for Young Athletes

‘M’ stands for one of the most important tenants governing young athlete training – Movement Must Dominate.

Although this seems like an absolute ‘no-brain’ reality, I am constantly amazed how many times it is breached within the fitness and sport training world with respect to young athletes.

Kids and teenagers don’t belong sitting on strength training machines producing force.

Just watch a young person in their natural environment.

They move; constantly.

This desire to play, run, skip, hop, throw things and climb is not a product of ‘ants-in-the-pants’ or any other form of contemporary ‘illness’ as defined by modern society (ADD for example).

The neurology of human growth and development shows that during the young periods of life, the CNS is in constant ‘gathering’ mode.

As young people, we are learning.

Our bodies, governed by our CNS, are wired to explore movements, environments and situations. Kids don’t mean to ‘get into things’ – they are being instructed to by an ever-changing, always-learning CNS that is requiring continual input.

Not only should this reality be honored and respected, it MUST be enhanced within the training systems of young athletes.

AXIOM Athletes are taught how to move and produce force through an unregulated and free manner! They are assuredly on the right track. Run, jump,throw, kick, hop, skip… That kind of stuff!!

‘Part 2’ in a few days…

Check out this Youth Athlete VIDEO

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